Monthly Archives: September 2012

Succeeding with Difficult Customers – Key Idea

“It’s not just about being Nice”

Most business’ train their customer contact personnel to ‘be nice’. This IS important, but it is not nearly enough. Here are a few thoughts about going beyond being ‘nice’.

Beyond Nice to Kind

“Kindness implies we take a step beyond simply being congenial, to making an effort to understand what is troubling a customer.”

Understanding the customer is one of the major sections of this new book of mine. Niceness is, well, nice, but customers see through ‘canned’ niceties. What they want is to be understood – to have you address their concerns.

Kindness means you make an effort FOR THEM. It’s not company policy; it’s YOU! It’s making the effort to put yourself into the equation.

How do you like to be treated when you are working with a representative from some company – either in person or on the phone?

Choose Kindness every time. Your customers will notice.


Hint: You’ll have far fewer difficult customers if you make this effort.


Joe Koob

Next up: can you add a wee bit of compassion to the mix?

“Compassion is Kindness in the most difficult of circumstances.”

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Dealing with Difficult Customers — Company Integrity

Greetings friends. Sorry to have been away again for a space, I was finishing my Sword & Sorcery 7-book epic adventure. I am going to try to keep up with this blog on a more regular basis, since I am now back to working on my non-fiction, “Understanding and Working with Difficult People” books.

I have finally decided to put my book, “Dealing with Difficult Customers” ‘out-there’ via e-publishing. I hope to launch it within the month. I’ll let you know when it is available.

In the meantime I would like to discuss a few thoughts I have relevant to this book, the first of which I would ask for anyone’s input/or experiences about. There is a possibility I might even use a scenario you send in the book. If so, credit would be given as: (Thanks and a hat tip to Rachel K), as an example, e.g. no last names. Sorry, no money for this; just a chance to let off some steam.

So one of the major sections of this book is “Company Responsibilities, which has to do with training, support, and so forth for customer service personnel and customer contact personnel. I also discuss the importance of company integrity and honesty as a means of helping establish an atmosphere where there will be generally fewer disgruntled customers.

To that end, here are my thoughts.

I have become increasingly frustrated over the years with the number of companies, large and small, that seem to willingly rip-off their customers. I guess, for one thing, I wonder how they continue to exist because I won’t use such a company more than once, and hopefully not even once. And furthermore I wonder how they live with themselves.

I can certainly tell lots of stories – could probably come up with fifty at one sitting. What is amazing is that this lack of integrity happens at every level – from one-person businesses through large corporations.

Here are a few examples:

I had a plumber (one person company) charge me a high hourly rate (okay, I’m willing to pay that if he’s good), but he also charged me an hourly rate to drive to my place from his previous work spot AND from my place to his next. Worse yet, he never told me these ‘fees’ would be tacked on either before or after the work. They just showed up on the bill. Now assuming he is charging everyone these ‘fees’ he is double-dipping. That is fraudulent AND completely unethical. Needless to say I never used him again. I wouldn’t use anyone who charged such fees – if they can’t charge a reasonable rate that includes their time en route; then I’m not interested.

Here’s one I read or heard: Seven air-conditioning companies were called to fix a minor problem in a residential air conditioner. EVERY ONE of the companies recommended replacing parts and adding services that were unnecessary! To the tune of from $300 more than needed to well over a $1000!

Or how about the internet/phone/cable provider who states one thing on the phone, then charges me for all the services they said were included. Did they think I wasn’t going to look at my bill? When I called, they said, “Oh, sorry.” If I hadn’t paid attention, and I imagine lots of people don’t, they would have continued to charge me ad infinitum.

Don’t get me started on car dealerships and car repair places. I spend a good bit of time finding an honest one whenever I move. It can be a challenge.

And how many of you like all those airline fees?

Am I old fashioned in believing America was built on honesty and integrity? On good work for good pay?

Here is a hint for businesses and managers out there – IF you can’t provide a quality product at a fair price and in an honorable way, you’re going to have difficult customers. And I’m going to be one of them!


Joe Koob

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